In the team's first full scrimmage of spring practice Saturday at Memorial Stadium, the defense dominated every single aspect of it by collecting 10 sacks and 12 more tackles for loss.
"The best thing about today was that the defense played pretty good because we had thrown a lot of multiple formations," Bowden said. "It was just self destruction on offense with penalties and didn't make any big plays."
Two of the bigger stars on defense were rising redshirt junior bandit Gaines Adams and rising junior linebacker Tramaine Billie. Adams had three sacks, while Billie had numerous tackles for loss.
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"Tramaine Billie, defensively has probably been the biggest standout performer defensively."
Adams credits new defensive coordinator Vic Koenning and new defensive line coach Marion Hobby for the defense's success.
"Coach Hobby is a crazy guy," Adams said. "If you're not back there, that means he's really going to take you out, because if you're not in the backfield, you're not making any plays."
As pleased as the defensive players were, the ones on offense were equally discouraged.
"There were a couple of those procedure penalties, a couple of bad snaps, a couple of missed protections and that's the stuff that eats at you because it's usually mental," said quarterback Charlie Whitehurst, who was sacked five times. "It's not like we're getting whipped or anything. It's still early, but it could be better."
The offense will have to go the rest of the spring without veteran tailback Duane Coleman, who was suspended indefinitely by Bowden for the remainder of the spring after getting into a heated argument with at least one member of the coaching staff earlier in the week.
"Like Coach said, ‘You can't stop the show. It must go on,' " said starting tailback Reggie Merriweather, who had 15 carries for 26 yards. "We're going to miss him and I hope he comes back. We've just got to pick up the slack."